Monday, April 19, 2010

The US military announces another death

Today the US military announced: "BASRAH, Iraq– A Soldier assigned to United States Division-South died of non-combat-related injuries Sunday. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement follows the news of Saturday's helicopter crash which claimed 1 life and left 3 service members injured and brings the total number of US service members killed in the Iraq War to 4392.

Or at least the ones who get counted. Some return with obvious physical wounds and perish, some return with mental wounds and perish and some return with something within their bodies that may kill them. It's happened to soldiers and contractors stationed at the Balad base and exposed to cancer causing toxins. And as R.B. Stuart (Global Post) reminds there is also Depleted Uranium:

When my sister, 101st Airborne Army Capt. Chaplain Fran E. Stuart, returned from Iraq, she was forever changed.
Not only had the desert sand, gun blasts and heat penetrated her psyche during her one-year deployment, but a carcinogen had made its way into her body as well. Unbeknown to her, the carcinogen was making a home in my sister's body, along with the Anthrax vaccine, depleted uranium, burn pit smoke and contaminated water dished up at every meal.
In March 2006, when my sister was 41, she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, stage-IV dysgerminoma cancer, also called “germ cell” cancer, which is usually only seen in pregnant women and teenage girls. The cancer was advancing quickly, wrapping itself around her internal organs like an octopus and gathering fuel from her central abdomen.

After surgery and many months of chemo treatment (35 rounds of chemo), her sister's cancer was addressed. And this led Stuart to explore others suffering from exposure, to how the mlitary denies responsibility for cancers and to the conclusion, "The U.S. military's unwillingness to publicly admit there is danger of radiological exposure among deployed troops leaves the American people uninformed, the soldiers on the battlefield unprotected and the Iraqi civilians increasingly at risk."

The Iraq War has not ended. If you're confused on that point, you can click here and read or watch Kelly Schlict's WEAU report on the send-off for the Wisconsin soldiers deploying to Iraq.

An e-mail asks if we can give a link to an OpEd News piece. Here's the link. I won't quote from it, I'm too busy laughing.

Jar-Jar Blinks.

So Jar-Jar's now telling reporters the Iraq War's not ending? Golly, gee, Jar-Jar, Ava and I were making that point to you over a damn year ago and weren't you unable to see reality back then, weren't you so full of yourself and your damn lies and your damn love/worship for Barack Obama that reality in Iraq really didn't mean a damn thing to you? Tell me, Jar-Jar, did you ever take down that counter from your website? The one proclaiming the Iraq War was ending in X days?

So now Jar-Jar realizes the Iraq War's not as simple as Big Barry told him it was? It's way too little, way too late. Kissing Barack's ass was more important to you in 2009 than Iraq was. So now you emerge from your long and wasted weekend. And you've played Dorthy Parker's telephone game --

Please, God, let him telephone me now. Dear God, let him call me now. I won't ask anything else of You, truly I won't. It isn't very much to ask. It would be so little to You, God, such a little, little thing. Only let him telephone now. Please, God. Please, please, please.
If I didn't think about it, maybe the telephone might ring. Sometimes it does that. If I could think of something else. If I could think of something else. Maybe if I counted five hundred by fives, it might ring by that time. I'll count slowly. I won't cheat. And if it rings when I get to three hundred, I won't stop; I won't answer it until I get to five hundred. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty. . . . Oh, please, ring. Please.

-- and you've played it out. Now you grasp that Hopey Changey tricky-fooled you and you start to regret all the things you did to please him, all the ways you humiliated yourself for him and you look around fearfully wondering how many people know about it? And cursing yourself for all those nights you agreed to sleep in the wet spot.

Jar-Jar, get a bottle, put on Carly Simon's "Make Me Feel Something" and sing along:

Remember when
We were fresh in love
Your eyes were pale like the moon
We'd sit on the porch in summer
Listening to the breezes
Spinning melodies up from the river
I dressed you up like a god
The one you were.

I'm sorry I just can't muster any sympathy for Jar-Jar. He arrives at the truth far too late and long after Ava and I washed our hands of him and long after Dona tried in vain to provide a walk through for him. Jar-Jar, that's reality, the thing you worked so hard to avoid.

We'll note this from United Progressives in Nashville:

For Immediate Release:

Middle East Expert to Give Talk in Nashville

Nashville - Some of the most conflicting and contradictory viewpoints seem to circulate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most Americans do not understand it at all, and Anna Baltzer, a young Jewish American, was one of them who found this great disparity between what Israelis and Palestinians have to say about it not only confusing but disturbing. She did something about it. She went to the West Bank to discover for herself the realities of daily life for Palestinians under the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. What she found would change her outlook on the conflict forever.

She has written a book about it, Witness in Palestin e: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories , and has also produced a series of videos now available on DVD to give voice to the stories of the people who welcomed her with open arms as their lives crumbled around them. She is traveling the U.S. now, presenting her dramatic experiences to people who will listen, hoping to raise America's consciousness to the problems that are at the very heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

She will be in Nashville on April 27 at 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 1808 Woodmont Blvd, to talk about these experiences. The event is free.

Composed of hundreds of color photographs, original maps, and eyewitness stories, her book Witness in Palestine follows Baltzer's eight months over a four-year period as a Fulbright scholar working with the International Women's Peace Service in the West Bank and documenting human rights abuses and supporting Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance.

Anna Baltzer and former Palestinian National Authority presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart October 28, 2009. Watch the segment.

Baltzer lived and worked with farmers, Palestinian and Israeli activists, and the families of political prisoners, traveling with them across endless checkpoints and roadblocks to reach hospitals, universities, and olive groves. Baltzer witnessed firsthand the environmental devastation brought on by expanding settlements and outposts and the destruction wrought by Israel's “Security Fence,” which separates many families from each other, their communities, their land, and basic human services. What emerges from Baltzer's journal is not a sensationalist tale of suicide bombers and conspiracies, but a compelling and inspiring description of the trials of daily life under the occupation.

Make sure you put this on your calendars for April 27 at 7 PM.

This is a free event.

Individuals who would like to contribute to an honorarium to support Anna's efforts please contact Paul Barrow by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for special instructions.

See our Facebook event notice also.

United Progressives is a membership-based national union of progressives committed to upholding the ideals and values its members believe in. Strength through Unity. Progress through Strength. No PACs, no dues, no hustle.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Anna, please contact:

Paul Barrow
Director of Policy and Communication
United Progressives
44 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203
615.944.8208 cell
877.860.3585 fax

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